Alright, now that we understand why we want to breathe in a certain way as singers – to create a steady and consistent flow of air – it’s time for us to talk about how to breathe from the diaphragm.
Now, learning to breathe using your diaphragm can take a little getting used to, but it’s really pretty simple. So rule number one is don’t make it more complex than it needs to be. First, I’ll explain how we breathe properly, then I’ll show you what I’m talking about.
So, what you want to do is create a down and outward expansion in the lower torso as you inhale. When you do this, your belly should push outward, and you should feel anchored into the ground. This will help you experience both the down and outward sensations.
Then, and this is really important, you’ll continue that down and outward expansion while you sing, resisting the stomachs natural tendency to come back in. Continuing the expansion keeps the diaphragm active, helping you create that coveted steady and consistent flow of air.
Now, there are several ways you can play with this. Many teachers will have you lie on the floor and put a book on your stomach so that you can feel and see the outward push. But, I find simply placing your hand on your belly button works just as well. So let’s do that.
Now, when you inhale, you want to push your stomach outward and feel a downward anchoring sensation into the ground.
Most people find it relatively simple to just push the stomach outward while they inhale with practice, but sometimes I have people ask about that downward feel. The best way I can describe it breathe as if someone were trying to pick you up and you didn’t want them to. So make yourself feel like dead weight. That, to me, reminds me of that downward feel. Others argue it feels a bit like going to the bathroom… not number 1. Personally though, I find that just tying that anchored sensation into the inhale does the job.
Now that you know how to inhale properly, don’t forget that’s only one half of the process. You have to continue this down and outward expansion while you sing. Doing this helps you maintain control over the airflow. And that’s what it’s all about – creating a steady and consistent flow of air.
It takes a little bit of getting used to, but ultimately this is all your have to do in order to breathe in the right way as a singer. It’s not about inhaling as much air as possible, clinching your ab muscles, or creating tons of air pressure.
Instead, all you have to do is create a down and outward expansion, then continue that down and outward expansion while you sing. Do this, and you’ll be more easily able to create that steady and consistent flow of air that allows you to sing smarter, not harder.
Now that we’ve covered how to breathe, let’s go over a few common issues you’ll want to avoid while breathing.